A CNN analyst called focusing on the Nashville school shooter’s transgender identity a “distraction in our coverage” and said more must be learned about her motive in order to put Monday’s horrific massacre in the context of similar events.
Juliette Kayyem, the network’s national security analyst, spoke a day after the 28-year-old woman who identified as male gunned down three nine-year-old children and three adults at a Christian elementary school. The killer, who The Daily Wire is not naming as part of company policy, was identified as transgender by police hours after she was killed by police. She also used male pronouns and sometimes went by a male name.
“You know, look, pronouns,” Kayyem said. “Pronouns do not kill children, right? People with guns kill children, and it’s going to be a distraction in our coverage and keep us from what we now know, which is each of these cases has a similarity more than any difference.”
Kayyem — who once ran for governor of Massachusetts and served as assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs in the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security, told host Don Lemon that the case is unusual.
“This is a unique case, and we have to be sensitive about it to the extent that [the shooter] identified as a woman. We do not see mass shooters who are female, especially in particular, school shooting murderers,” Kayyem said.
While it is rare for a mass shooter to be a biological woman, there have been multiple transgender or so-called “non-binary” killers in recent years, including the suspect in the shooting at Colorado Springs’ Club Q, one of the suspects in the Stem School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, and the suspect in the 2018 mass shooting outside a Rite Aid distribution center in Aberdeen, Maryland.
But Kayyem said there are many other factors that remain unknown about Monday’s shooting, and that the killer’s transgender status may prove immaterial.
“Each of these school shootings has motive and means,” she said. “Motive goes to the particular person. What’s their mental health situation? What happened at the school? Why did they choose that target? … What was their community scene. And then the means, and then that’s when you get the connectivity, right? That’s when you start to see these are all starting to look the same, right?”
CNN's @juliettekayyem encourages news outlets to ignore killer's transgenderism: "Pronouns do not kill children, right? People with guns, kill children, & it’s going to be a distraction in our coverage & keep us from what we now know" pic.twitter.com/vVNeWW5WSW
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 28, 2023
A former classmate of the shooter who claimed to know the shooter before the shooter “transitioned” said, “I haven’t seen [the shooter] since graduation as I moved, and we didn’t keep in touch. … I mainly knew her as ‘she’ before the transition. When she transitioned, no one was surprised.”